Illinois' top-ranked incoming freshman guard Jalen Coleman-Lands will miss the team's upcoming European trip after suffering a stress fracture in his left leg.
"After experiencing pain in his left leg, Jalen has been diagnosed with a stress fracture," head coach John Groce said in the announcement. "His health is our No. 1 priority, so we are holding him out of all on-court activities indefinitely. We will reevaluate his status heading into fall preseason training."
Coleman-Lands was the crown jewel of Illinois' 2015 recruiting class. Ranked as the No. 36 overall player in 247Sports' composite rankings, the four-star guard from Indiana, is the highest rated recruit to enroll at Illinois during the Groce Era.
While he wasn't going to be in the starting lineup initially, Coleman-Lands seemed like an ideal candidate to fill the role of ‘sixth-man'. It's been years since Illinois has had a dynamic scoring option coming off the bench and the 6-foot-3 guard could've easily provided an extra six to eight points in about 20 minutes per game. There was some speculation that we were going to see Coleman-Lands playing some point guard this season, but missing out on summer reps will hurt those chances early on.
Projected 2015-16 Depth Chart
|Point Guard||Shooting Guard||Small Forward||Power Forward||Center|
|Tracy Abrams (SR)||Kendrick Nunn (JR)||Malcolm Hill (JR)||Leron Black (SO)||Mike Thorne Jr. (SR)|
|Jaylon Tate (JR)||Jalen Coleman-Lands (FR)||D.J. Williams (FR)||Darius Paul (JR)||Michael Finke (FR)|
|Aaron Jordan (FR)||
Maverick Morgan (JR)
Players will, of course, be playing multiple positions, but expect something similar to this.
As you can see, shooting guard is probably the position group that's best equipped to handle an injury. Kendrick Nunn was always going to be receiving a majority of the playing time and that won't be changing now. However this does open up a window for Aaron Jordan -- the incoming freshman sharpshooter was ranked No. 113 overall by 247Sports.
It's an important year for Groce and the Illini so hopefully Coleman-Lands doesn't miss an extended period of the season. We'll make sure to update this article once an injury time-frame has been made public by the University.